Traces N.9, October 2018

Freedom and Vocation

By the time you read this issue of Traces, the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment will already be underway. It is a historic opportunity, because it involves a crucial topic for the Church and the world.

Young people are not only the future–they are the present. The difficulty in choosing, in finding a road that will fulfill the promise of life does not concern them alone. All of us are in search of a compass. All of us are muddled by a confusion that makes it difficult to get our bearings, to walk, and to grow. This confusion makes everyone more fragile and fearful, with a fear that often intensifies even in places dedicated to education, because the insecurity transmitted to our children or students is the one we ourselves harbor inside. Schools, universities, but also parish youth centers and the ecclesial realities to which we belong, and the Church herself, can become, often become, bubbles where we can isolate ourselves “waiting for the storm to pass,” rather than places that make our “I”s more well-grounded. Some books, widely read and discussed of late, in some way theoretically support Christians isolating themselves in this way. But many lived attitudes give this tendency flesh without our even realizing it.

What enables us to leave this bubble? What serves to generate an adult subject? What is the difference between places that generate and those that are refuges? The Close-Up article in this issue addresses a crucial theme that may provide an answer to this question: education. This is the contribution we want to make not only to the Synod, but to our world today, even more so at a moment when for many reasons the idea of relationships built in the context of education is looked upon with suspicion.

We do so by looking more deeply at the general context, which paradoxically evidences damage to the fulcrum of education, namely, freedom. We describe places where something better is happening and witnesses who are undertaking the challenge of education by wagering on the apparently fragile, yet crucial, nature of freedom, as you can read about in the conversation on the following pages between Julián Carrón and a group of university students. This conversation introduces us to the true heart of the matter: how to generate free and open people who are not afraid to live reality. That is, how an “I” can be born.